We all love a good gush, don’t we? Ranting and raving about our latest obsessions feel like lifting a weight off your shoulders. It’s even better when you’ve got an interested listener to divulge your passions to. There’s a particular joy to be found in sharing our appreciations with others. Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? intends to capture this like lightning in a bottle. But does this cute compendium prescribe some wholesome feels, or is it better off just writing a sick note? Is Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? worth reading?
What kind of School Nurse am I?
Meet Nijoko Momoyama, the new school nurse at second-year Tamotsu Kurita’s high school. Slick and sophisticated, her stunning beauty is turning heads left and right. She seems quiet and reserved to most until Kurita manages to stumble upon one of Momoyama’s prized possessions. A plushie mascot of her favourite idol anime character! It turns out this Nurse is, in fact, a big dork in disguise. Momoyama has more than her fair share of anime, manga and gacha game fixations. Rather than ridiculing her on this revelation, Kurita instead finds a kindred spirit in Momoyama. Thus, adorable solidarity between two otaku-types blossoms!
I appreciated the speedy clarification from Mangaka Kawabata regarding the nature of this relationship between teacher and student. Certain manga with similar subject matter tends to gloss over the concern. To such an extent that those teachers in question should consider adding The Police to their Spotify playlists. However, in this case, Momoyama is quite aware that it’s inappropriate for a teacher to have such personal relations with a student. For once a manga character never once oversteps their professional boundaries.
That said, as a member of the Public Health Committee, Kurita has reason to be in the Nurse’s office. If he happens to bring up the latest anime while he’s there, it would be rude for Momoyama not to respond! By slowly cultivating this relationship under more realistic circumstances, Kawabata does a commendable job of crafting a genuine camaraderie. But to what extent does this companionship extend?
You’re free to feel whatever you want about whomever you want
Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? was published in two volumes for its Japanese release. Yen Press wisely opted for the omnibus approach for this release, and it pays off in spades. We spend most of the first volume worth of chapters building upon the budding bond between the pair. This allows us to witness the dynamic from both sides.
Momoyama sees Kurita as her “walking, talking safety zone”. Being the loveable little scamp that he is, Kurita provides the perfect opportunity for Momoyama to express her self. Even where professionalism demands demure behaviour. Though she has her nerdy friends of her own to fawn over her favourite idols with. In Kurita, Momoyama has the chance to blow off some steam in a hectic work environment.
In Kurita’s case, it’s a little more complicated. While Kurita also enjoys the same nerdy obsessions as Momoyama, his real delight derives from listening to Momoyama herself. Like the reader, Kurita came to see the nerdy Nurse partake in some passionate fangirling, and he’s not left disappointed! Yet, there may be more to it than just that inherent cute factor.
You can’t share when you’re alone
Kurita isn’t a loner and has plenty of buddies, but you still feel an air of loneliness from him. At the crescendo to the first half of the book, we see that Kurita has a solitary home life. He is the Japanesse equivalent of a latchkey kid. Kurita prepares dinner and leaves a portion for his working mother in the fridge. Only to discover the untouched leftovers remain the same the following day. It’s a surprisingly poignant moment for such a wholesome manga. This twinge of sadness paints a lot of Kurita’s previous straightforwardness in a new light.
There may indeed be a maternal factor at play here as Kurita receives attention from the caring school nurse. Especially in the absence of his own mother. Momoyama herself admits that she loves kids, the reasoning behind her becoming a school nurse in the first place. This love and support have had a profound impact on Kurita. In Momoyama, he finds a trusted parental figure to confide in. One that is willing to share both her thoughts and her time with him. For Kurita, that connection is more important and immediately apparent than any developing feelings of romantic love he might feel. Of course, crushes do have the unintended effect of creeping up on you.
There are all kinds of “love”
Apart from the predictable revelation that Kurita’s does have feelings for Momoyama. The back half of Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? largely shifts focus away from the school setting. Focusing more onon Momoyama’s lifestyle out of the lab coat. For a couple of chapters, she even gets into some cosplay! As much as I was a fan of all the school shenanigans, the concept began to run its course. This switch-up was a well-calculated play by Kawabata. Do you like the nerdy Nurse on her day off?
As well as portraying worthwhile attention to Momoyama’s everyday life, her misadventures in the world of fangirls also provide the majority of the chuckles in the second half. You will learn a whole new level of appreciation for the trials and tribulations of female cosplayers trying to evoke their favourite male idols!
This second half may also have become a little self-indulgent for Kawabata in the process. We notice a sudden fixation on writing, drawing and creating manga. This stems from a combined effort of concocting the next Cells at Workpastiche at school to Momoyama rediscovering her passion for drawing at home. While this amount of “writing what you know” might come off as trite at first, it fits the student and nurse pair to explore passions. For me, it just seems a little too convenient that this medium is the chosen method for their rediscoveries.
Kawabata does manage to tie it all back together for the big finish. Returning to an old manga series for its final volume helps Kurita to comes to terms with the other type of love flickering inside him. Momoyama’s “What if you loved it so much you didn’t want it to end?” line has a certain bittersweet resonance in this final chapter. Without giving too much away, I felt Momoyama handled the inevitable outcome of the situation well, ensuring no sour aftertaste in the process. Returning the focus to the shared nerdy passions that brought them together, this sweet tale is left scrumptious throughout.
Is Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? worth reading?
Yes, to both questions! Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? quickly transformed from intriguing curiosity to one of my sleeper hits of the year so far. Don’t be discouraged by the possibility of sauciness from a premise that might suggest unnecessary fanservice. Instead, strap yourself in for cute encounters and surprise feels! I wasn’t expecting such a heartwarming and genuine approach to the classic unrequited love concept. But, I certainly can’t complain about the result.
While there is a shift to the manga production focus of the second half. It all serves the greater good for the themes of self-expression and finding love. In their closing afterword, Mangaka Kawabatta describes this volume as their “journal” and “communication tool”. I think that honesty is apparent throughout the book. It turns out there’s plenty to fall for in this charming tale of different types of love.
Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse? is available physically and digitally from Amazon and digitally from BookWalker.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.